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Why does CRI matter in choosing the best desk lamp for your home office?

Color Rendering Index does matter when choosing lighting for your home office.

BenQ North America
2019/12/10
BenQ Lighting options - ScreenBar and eReading

Here is the second article in the series of what you need to know if you are going to purchase a perfect desk lamp – and in a few short three minute read – you will know why the “color rendering index” or CRI is the second most important specification in buying a perfect desk lamp for your home or work office space.

Old vs. New Lighting

If you have ever noticed that things look different in a store with fluorescent lights compared to a store with incandescent or halogen lights – you are on the right track. Diamond stores use specific lighting to make their jewels and watches look glamorous – while the old K-Mart stores used inexpensive fluorescent lighting that made everything look a little green.

When LED lights first came out – many made a room look “bright” but might also look a little “washed out.” This why CRI – or Color Rendering Index – is the second most important element in selecting a perfect desk lamp. So what does the CRI measurement mean – and how much is enough?

BenQ ScreenBar Lighting is the best minimalist desk lighting option
If you are not color blind – you need a high CRI desk lamp

Our eyes have amazing color sensitivity – which is why we have camouflage military uniforms – and enabled our ancestors to spot a lion hiding in the grass early enough to escape. In nature, – your eye sees the color reflected from the object. Example – a ripe strawberry will reflect the red wavelength of light – but not blue. However, if you look at it under LED light itself doesn’t have a full spectrum of red light – the strawberry may look sickly or pink – even if it is a perfect specimen.

Perfect “CRI” – 90+ CRI means Red = Red

For lighting companies to enable consumers to differentiate between high-quality light and the cheap ones that wash out your color, they invented “CRI” or “Color Rendering Index.” Because the light coming from the Sun can reflect all the colors we can see – it has a CRI of 100. Today – by mixing and arranging different colors of LEDs,– a good desk lamp can achieve over 90% of all colors found in sunlight.

To avoid buying a “bright” desk lamp that makes everything look pale and washed out – you will want to look for a desk lamp with a CRI at 90 or above. Companies with logos that have red and secondary colors such as purple should especially be sensitive to CRI in their lighting. Bottom line – a “bright” light with low CRI is the difference between eating fresh-baked artisanal French bread – or a wad of white spongy sandwich bread. They both have flour and are bread – but the experience is different.

Home Office situations where High CRI is critical

While some people may like tasteless white sponge bread (low CRI lighting), you certainly need a high CRI for your desk lamp in the following applications.

Work with graphics

If you do any work with pictures, advertisements, or graphics, you need a 90+ CRI lamp. Flesh tones in computer-generated images and printed images are especially sensitive to CRI – and will look completely different under two different desk lamps. Red light is especially important in rendering natural skin tones – especially in hair color or cosmetics.

Want a good looking office

If you worked on ensuring that your office is color-coordinated, or if you have visitors to your working area, you will want a 90+ CRI light. For example, if you want to make that cherry wood Best Executive Desk of 2019 look great - match it up with a desk lamp with 90+ CRI and you see every line and color variation in your work surface. Match it with a low CRI $20 desk lamp and it may look like it came from Ikea.

Care about your eye health

One other benefit of 90+ CRI desk lamps is that they also come with other advanced features such as a flicker-free driver that eliminates annoying LED flickering – and automatically adjustable light levels that keep the lamp from getting too bright when the room gets darker – such as at dusk. The BenQ ScreenBar and e-Reading lamps have these advanced features and also avoid monitor glare.

Two Great 90+ CRI Desk Lamps

If you are looking at desk lamps for your home or work office space – be sure and check out the BenQ ScreenBar Plus desk lamp with its innovative design that rests above your monitor and has a CRI of 95. Check out this review to see if it is the right fit for you.

For a more traditional desk lamp design – the BenQ e-Reading lamp is one of the fastest-growing desk lamps in North America. With its innovative head that keeps light off the monitor and on your desk – it covers over 30% more space than a typical desk light – and has a CRI of 95. Click here to see which one is right for you.

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